"We all paint on a face to show the world," Nicholas replies philosophically. "For some of us, that's quite literal.”
I'm in a bit of a pickle when it comes to Painted Faces... I don't think I have ever finished a book and didn't have any feelings at all towards it. I've never had a book fall right in the middle for me. I picked up Painted Faces because of how much I loved her book Six of Hearts. Everyone kept telling me that if I loved that book then I would love this more. Went into this without knowing a single thing about it.
I want to talk about Nicholas (or Viv) first because the prologue is from his point of view. Not even going to beat around the bush with this... The prologue is amazing! It's probably the best one I've read since The Law of Moses. It was dark, deep, and had an incredible hook. Nick's character is first officially introduced when he moves across the hall from Freda (or Fred). The two start spending time together right off the bat. while spending time together we find out that Nick is a professional Drag Queen... Yes, you read that right; a Drag Queen. And Hells to the yeah on a real original idea. I was so excited when I read this because this taboo concept is on I have never come across before. Nick isn't Bi or trans, he is just a guy who enjoys doing Drag. However this is where his character started fading out for me. Looks and job wise Nick was top notch... personality wise we just didn't click. I like my leading men upfront and bold, but even I have a line in the sand of where upfront goes from hot to not. Nick quickly fell on the not side. I'm talking five pages in was asking... no not asking, just flat out saying he wanted to sleep with Fred, and I wasn't feeling it.
He keeps this brashness thought the whole book. I found myself only liking him because he was a Drag Queen. his character could have been many things, but ended up putting all of his eggs in one basket. Freda kind of had similar problems for me. Just couldn't connect with her. She had a very positive attitude but her she was constantly body shaming and comparing herself to other women. After awhile this got to be a bit old for me. Her humor is another thing I felt was a bit forced. Both characters are suppose to be in their late 20's and neither of them spoke or acted as if they were. I would have guessed their ages around 18/19. They both had very similar voices and I was hoping that both would be able to stand on their own.
Fred and Nick's relationship didn't feel very authentic to me. in my opinion they didn't really feel right for one another. Also when Nick sleeps with another woman it was kind of a done deal. I was officially turned off. The two are suppose to have very hot and heavy relationship, but I didn't feel like they had much depth. There is also a particular sexual scene towards the end that kind of made my skin crawl a little. It just wasn't the smut for me.
Plot and pacing wise I found this book a little on the slow side. Not much goes on. For a concept that was this original I was hoping this story would pull out all the stops. Sadly, I saw everything that happened coming. Just; nothing really happened. Two people meet. One pretends they aren't interested. The other is overly invested. They end up together. It's your usual NA book. All this left me feeling a bit underwhelm.
Painted Faces is a story that relied heavily on the fact that the characters should of had massive development. A novel that could have gone dark in the best way, but fell flat. I feel like Painted Faces weighted itself too much on the idea that it was a good idea. Now, with all this being said and done I do want to say this: This book is in no way a one star read. Some people are going to read this book and love it (clearly, just look at the review for it). Painted Faces just wasn't the book for me. LH Cosway is an amazing writer with some of the most creative concepts I've ever read. She is an author that I will continue to pick up and support, because you don't have to like every book an author puts out. This book will impact someone a lot.